We've heard the promise: in the future, everything's connected. But when Cleveland rolls out its new RFID-enabled recycling bins next year, ones that know if you're using them and report you if you're not, you might long to disconnect.

On the surface, it doesn't sound so bad: Cleveland's City Council recently passed a $2.5 million measure to bring RFID-equipped recycling bins to 25,000 homes over the course of the next year. Using technology to save the planet—surely a noble end. But then there are the means:

The chips will allow city workers to monitor how often residents roll carts to the curb for collection. If a chip show a recyclable cart hasn't been brought to the curb in weeks, a trash supervisor will sort through the trash for recyclables.

Trash carts containing more than 10 percent recyclable material could lead to a $100 fine, according to Waste Collection Commissioner Ronnie Owens.


Yes, people should be recycling. But should their trash be subject to search in an effort to get them to do so?

Sarah Perez at ReadWriteWeb points out that Cleveland's creepy bins are only the most recent example of "tattletaling objects," things that were once merely functional but now, with technology, have been made aware, for better or worse. And while I'm willing to accept annoyances like location-based ads in our increasingly connected future, my recycling bin, I think, is best left unplugged. [Cleveland.com via Wired and ReadWriteWeb]

Illustration by our contributing illustrator Sam Spratt. Check out Sam's portfolio and become a fan of his Facebook Artist's Page.


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